There are few confectionery recipes I’ll dare to try, homemade fudge and marshmallows perhaps being the most daring.
And, I have my reasons. Confectionery and candying are their own, highly unique branches of cookery. Each is vastly different from learning to roast meats or sauté vegetables.
In candying, recipes require cooks to possess a keen understanding of stove-top temperatures and how sugar responds to heat. But the goal behind this science is fairly simple: to take sugar and turn it into something truly special.
This recipe for marshmallows is pretty basic, and a great starting point for home cooks candying for the first time. First, boil sugar and water until it reaches the hardball stage, then stir in powdered gelatin that has been diluted in water.
To finish, you combine the sugar and gelatin mixture with whipped egg whites and a flavor of your choice. This recipe requires no baking, but that you set marshmallows (covered) overnight in a lined baking dish.
For those who haven’t worked with gelatin before, you can find individually sealed packages in the baking aisle of your local grocery store for only a couple of dollars.
The final results are spectacular. Stark white, sweet and velvety, homemade marshmallows aren’t quite like the ones you’ll see on the baking aisle and definitely worth trying.
Some of my favorite flavorings include vanilla, orange and almond extracts, but I encourage cooks to play around with other combinations. During Christmas, mint is a wonderful option for hot chocolate and lemon also has a lovely way of brightening this candy.
Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.